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Navajo Chief Blanket

navajocodetalkersadmin on March 11, 2015 - 10:00 am in Navajo Rituals

The Navajo chief blanket is not only the most popular and valued type of Navajo weaving there it is. It is also a concept that is steeped in Native American history.

About Navajo Chief Blankets

The history of the Navajo chief blanket is a rich, deeply fascinating one. These blankets were valued collector’s items long before the United States even came into being. The value of a Navajo chief blanket is just one aspect to appreciating how extraordinary these examples of Navajo weaving truly are. Nonetheless, it’s incredible to some that these blankets are capable of fetching as much as a half million dollars in certain circles. That fact alone is a testament to not only the craftsmanship and labor involved, but to the way these blankets speak to the people who are willing to pay such remarkable figures.

Within the general concept of Navajo chief blankets, there are four phases that newcomers to the field will want to familiarize themselves with. There are also some variants to consider. It’s also important to note that chief blankets are put together in a wider-than-long style.

Here is some basic information on the five phases:

1. The first phase blankets were constructed between the years 1800 and 1850. These blankets featured indigo blue stripes with white/brown natural churro wool. Less than one hundred of these blankets are known to be in the world today. Understandably, this fact alone makes the blankets extremely valued amongst historians and collectors.

2. Created between the years 1840 and 1870, these blankets added some intriguing new components to the Navajo chief blanket. 12 boxes or rectangles were added to the pattern established with the first phase blankets. These blankets are rare and quite expensive, but they are not as rare or expensive as first phase blankets.

3. Some collectors consider the third phase Navajo chief blankets to be the most artistically appealing of all the phases. Phase three blankets are categorized by 9 diamonds or cross formations. These blankets were made between 1860 and 1880.

4. These blankets were constructed between the years 1870 and the early 1900’s. The design emphasizes diamonds.

5. A transitional blanket can occur within any of the established phases mentioned above. Although true examples were made between 1880 and 1900, transitional blankets are still made by the Dine and Navajo to this day.

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